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RED BANK: SYMPHONY AND CACOPHONY ON THE RIVER

 

The NJ Symphony Orchestra at Marine Park.  (Photo by Brian Donohue. Click to enlarge.)

By BRIAN DONOHUE

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra sent magical sounds into a perfect summer night while pro-Palestine protestors loudly decried the war in Gaza, all while police boats circled to guard a Presidential visit just across the river.

It was a remarkable and – for police, busy – night on the Navesink Banks and streets of Red Bank Saturday. And one where reminders of world events swirled just outside the blissful bubble of perhaps Red Bank’s premier arts event.

Protesters at Riverside Gardens Park. (Photo by Brian Donohue. Click to enlarge.)

The group of protesters gathered at Riverside Gardens Park and marched across the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge, attempting to get as close as possible to the home of Governor Phil Murphy on Navesink River Road in Middletown. Murphy was hosting an evening campaign fund-raiser for President Joe Biden at the riverfront estate.

They turned around at the police road closure on the Middletown side of the river and returned to Riverside Gardens, chanting loudly the entire route slogans like “Stop the killing stop the hate, Biden funds a terrorist state.”

Their megaphone-boosted voices travelled not quite to Marine Park, where the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra began its performance before a large crowd spread out on beach chairs and blankets under crepuscular skies.

There, the only reminders of the outside world were the numerous black cars and trucks bearing federal government plates in the parking lot.

As the symphony began their second set with “Liberty Fanfare” a composition written by John Williams to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, the police boats that had been circling, blue lights flashing on the water all evening, drifted away.

And a group of law enforcement officers in dark suits paused for a few moments in the parking lot not far from the bandshell before getting into their cars and driving away, the music finally taking over the scene.

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